Saturday, December 26, 2015

Banana Bread Granola

I love baking, especially around the holidays. All of the usual festive treats are great, but sometimes I like to switch things up by baking something on the healthier side. Granola is one of my all time favorite snack foods, and it can actually be pretty good for you. Don't be fooled, though... some of those pre-packaged, store bought granola cereals are packed with sugar, and basically qualify as a dessert food. Making granola at home is a lot more wholesome and healthy, while still maintaining that dessert-like appeal! I was pleasantly surprised to find that granola is super easy to make, and only takes a few, quality ingredients. I almost always have some sweet, ripe bananas around, so I was so excited when I found this recipe for Banana Bread Granola from the magical miss Minimalist Baker (love her recipes!). Who doesn't love the smell of warm, freshly-baked banana bread? This granola will fill your entire home with the sweetness of this all-time-favorite comfort food.

slightly adapted from The Minimalist Baker

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup of mixed nuts: I used pecans, almonds and hazelnuts
3 Tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp flax seed
1/2 Tbsp chia seed
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey (can sub maple if vegan)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (extract works well too)
1 medium ripe banana, mashed (~1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the oats, cinnamon, coconut sugar, salt, flaxseed/chia and nuts together in a large bowl, and toss together. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the coconut oil, honey and vanilla until everything is melted together. Remove from heat and whisk in banana puree until combined. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well, ensuring that the mixture is well coated.
Spread the mixture evenly onto one large or two small baking sheets (if you pile the granola onto the sheet, it won't bake evenly and may result in a chewy granola). Bake for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown. Note: For a more clumpy granola, don’t toss the granola while baking. If you prefer a more crumbly granola, stir the granola on the baking sheet halfway through baking to break up the clumps. Once the granola has browned, remove from the oven and toss just a bit to let the heat escape. Cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring to an airtight container.

Granola can be enjoyed with milk, yogurt or by the fist-fulls!


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